Democratic Deficit

 

dont-speak

Bullets Over Birkenhead : Paranoid Power Boy Pip plays the petulant diva

If evidence was needed that we are dealing with an increasingly controlling, paranoid and insecure Labour administration at Wirral Council we need look no further than last night’s council meeting where sole ,lonesome councillor Pat Cleary wasn’t ‘allowed’ to speak.

Democracy eh? –  don’t- cha just love it?.

Cllr Cleary tells us on his blog :

Arrangements for the Liverpool City Region Authority are being finalised this month and debated tonight by Wirral Council. Well, they were due to be debated but the dysfunctional outfit that Wirral Labour is they abused their majority to deliberately shut me out and refused to let me speak. How that makes them look anything other than completely ridiculous only they will know. 

http://patcleary2.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/liverpool-city-region-combined-authority.html

Of course to Wirral Labour Cllr Cleary  presents a clear and present danger to their hegemony as his recent appearance on the Tony Snell programme on Radio Merseyside testifies. Whilst council “leader” Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies demonstrated all the strong leadership qualities we’ve come to expect of him by conveniently planning a trip to China the week the controversial Wirral View newspaper website was launched and news reached us (not via Wirral View) that plans for revamping Birkenhead town centre had been thrown overboard. Cleary proved be both eminently sensible and eloquent when discussing the recent Neptune Developments debacle. He put the case that Wirral Council needed to present a viable , coherent vision for Birkenhead and not be at the behest of opportunistic businesses and property developers offering a piecemeal and unco-ordinated approach to regeneration.

What we’re  dismayed at is that we presume that Pip & Co  must have known their plans at a previous Council meeting held in October but in true “Keeping Residents Informed” style the opportunity to inform us of a change in plans was dumped in favour of a debate about banning the The S*n newspaper , which as worthy as it is, is one of those debates that we thought Wirral Council  had foregone in favour of realpolitik?.

The Core Strategy Local Plan – Wirral Retail & Leisure Study Update discussed at Cabinet in July was included in the Council meeting agenda but was not discussed or debated. The report was prepared by  Wirral Council’s “retained retail consultants” Nathaniel Litchfield & Partners . Wirral Council tell us they intend to use the findings of this report to shape their “approach to supporting small businesses and high streets to succeed.”

https://www.wirral.gov.uk/sites/default/files/all/planning%20and%20building/Local%20plans%20and%20planning%20policy/Local%20Planning%20Evidence%20Base%20and%20Research/Wirral%20Documents/41303_03%20Wirral%20Retail%20and%20Leisure%20Study%2021-07-15%20(Complete).pdf

The report is dire news for Birkenhead town centre  – basically the retail sector is dying on it’s feet share with its market share plummeting. Despite Pip’s aspiration of Birkenhead becoming a “Destination” . We have our doubts whether a drive-in Maccy D’s makes Birkenhead  a “destination” – unless that destination is diabetes.

In the light of all this we anticipate that the way things are going the local Labour group will be throwing everything at the Tranmere ward in an attempt to oust Cleary at the next council elections. Based on previous experience it can only be a matter of time before the smear campaign starts or should that be renewed ? ………………..

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/frank-field-the-biter-bit/

Communicating with Kev-Continued.

Kev etc 011.JPG
Now we know this won’t go down well with some of our readers but we’re warming to Kev……. a bit like an arsonist gathering tindersticks for a great conflagration.
Oh come on give the guy his due –  he’s the only one other than his predecessor who has enough spunk to answer us back.
Unlike the ‘King of the Victims’ Foulkesy who whinges about being harassed by us to Patricia Thynne. Or  Birkenhead MP Frank Field who bitches about us at a public meeting , or council leader Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies who the day after we publish the “Protecting the Defectives” story pointedly and exaggeratedly thanks the Mayor not once, but twice (in case we missed it the first time)  for “protecting” him . Or his oppo Cllr Jeff Green , who as ever, joined in belatedly and opportunistically at the same meeting to thank Foulkesy for his apology referred to in the same  Wirral Leaks story. Yeah, but what was Foulkesy apologising to you for Jeff – care to explain ? – because the people of Wirral have no idea whatsoever!.
Dare we suggest that Davies and Green should form a double act called  The Chuckle Brothers  (minus the chuckles of course ).
And most particularly can we refer to Deputy Chief Executive David Armstrong who never misses an opportunity to gripe about how unfair we are to people like him who want to sail serenely to their pension pot on a wave of mediocrity after having facilitated some of the worst abuses of power in Wirral Council history.
Finally – talking of mediocrity we all to need to understand that we most definitely didn’t ruin Kev’s weekend because this is someone who earns EIGHTY GRAND PLUS for apparently spending most of his time reading Wirral Leaks. Dream job or what?
Dear ‘Julian’
I’ve often pictured you as the type of bloke who spends his evenings typing furiously on his laptop, from his mums spare room wearing Superman pyjamas. 
The name ‘Julian Justice’ is not doing much to dispel that image, so thanks for that. 
Anyway, I assumed getting into contact with you would result in a kicking off your blog, so well done for delivering. 
Obviously feel free to post this email too. 

Keep up the good work!

Kev MacCallum

Head of Communications

Sussed.

It’s like you’ve peered into our soul.
Haha. 
Have a good weekend. 
You genuinely didn’t ruin mine – I was actually quite looking forward to my ‘Wirral Leaks kicking’. 
Kev. 

You must admit – ‘bring it on’ is an open invitation.

But at at the end of the day – you’re a minor diversion.
You know as well as us who deserves a real kicking – but you choose to earn a very good living sustaining their positions of power.
It might also explain why it is considered necessary that you bring your considerable expertise to the Children’s Services Improvement Board.
It was absolutely an open invitation, and you didn’t disappoint! 
‘Minor diversion’ & ‘considerable expertise.’ I’m both offended and flattered in one paragraph – impressive! 
I’ll close it down now, but well done and I’ll keep an eye out on the blog for the updated ‘communication with Kev’ piece. 
Cheers,

Kev. 

Kev MacCallum

Head of Communications

The Man in the Mirror

PIPMirrorKisser.jpg

Portrait courtesy of Leaky Towers resident artist Tolose Letruth

Now we know there’s a call for Wirral Council ‘leader’ Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies (and others) to resign in the light of the corporate failure to adequately safeguard vulnerable children.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50037017/Conservative%20NoM.pdf

But of course it won’t happen. Not only is it a case of Tory grandstanding it’s also a truism that no-one takes responsibility for failure in public life these days – least of all at woebegone Wirral  Council.

However we do begin to wonder what Power Boy Pip sees when he looks in the mirror. If as they say “there is nothing worse for the lying soul than the mirror of reality”  we thought we’d hold up that mirror so he could take a close look at his ‘strong’ leadership.

This is the man who as far back as 2009 and as chair of a so-called disciplinary hearing allowed incompetent,bullying liars from social services off the hook and sent them back to the department to wreak further havoc  – only for the truth to be revealed 3 years later, resulting in Wirral Council having to pick up a £220,000 tab for their sly and deceitful departure ; This is the man who lamely declared “there’s nothing we can do” to hold senior officers to account after they’d landed Wirral Council with £31 million of toxic debt as ” they’d all left”. No , get it right Pip- you’d  paid them off to make all that unpleasantness go away; This is the man who got Michael Frater to do his dirty work when sending Director of Law Bill Norman off site ; This is the man who didn’t have the backbone to stay in the same room when whistleblower Martin Morton stood up to speak at the final meeting of the  LGA Improvement Board in 2013; This is the man who doesn’t seek answers to difficult questions (see below) and does not suspend nor subsequently condemn the behaviour of dishonest councillors Steve Foulkes and George Davies; This is the man who doesn’t take action but hides behind action plans; This is the man who more recently failed to hold errant senior officers to account for behaviour that should have seen them sacked and instead reaches for the chequebook ;This is a man who when the going gets tough jets off to China ; This is a man who appoints a personal policy adviser/control freak to create that illusory image in the mirror; This is the man who believes the strong leader model is a sign of strength when in fact the need to control everything from council committees to the local media is indicative of a lack of confidence and an insecurity about scrutiny ; This is not a strong leader. This is a flushed and fidgeting failure.

To reflect back even more we are grateful to a disillusioned local Labour Party member who has sent us a copy of an email asking :

labour-leaflet-009

We’ve  copied the most pertinent parts of the email below underlining points of interest and added our comments (in red of course) . And again we must reiterate we aren’t anti-Labour we just want them to be better than they are or more specifically the small number of party members who abuse their power . But ultimately it’s up to local Labour Party members to decide whether they want to save the soul of their party and not impertinent blogs , opposition councillors or indeed the people of Wirral.

The Wirral Labour Party is in the process of selecting candidates to stand for election in May 2018.
                    Applications are now open until Monday 31st October 2016.

Halloween – how appropriate for this horrorshow!, no more killer clowns need apply! 

Winning the LGA award for Most Improved Council in Britain 2015 is testament to the hard work which has gone into improving Wirral Council by Labour, Council staff and partners.

Talk about Freudian slip !  – this discredited and increasingly ridiculous looking award was given by the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) and NOT the Local Government Association (LGA) . Although we are convinced it was the LGA who twisted LGC’s arm to invent this bogus endorsement and  enable Wirral Council to keep up the charade until further failures showed up what a sham the award was in the first place!. 

We must not become complacent though. It is a challenging time for Wirral and to be a Wirral Labour councillor. Wirral faces unprecedented budget challenges that will require Labour Councillors and candidates to be real community champions, seeking answers to difficult questions and engaging in the transformation process of the authority.

Not so much complacent as controlling . And as above demonstrates the difficult questions are never asked never mind answered!.  

Many of our Labour priorities can only be delivered through local action, and Labour’s core band of Councillors is the party’s front line and strong link with residents and local agencies.

The decisions made by councillors in Wirral affect people’s quality of life in countless ways, from education to housing and regeneration, community safety, environment, roads, care for older people, sport and culture, and helping local businesses to thrive.

This is what worries us ! – Labour appoint a councillor with a track record of dishonesty to the Planning Committee , a councillor who doesn’t acknowledge never mind address problems in Children’s Services as their Cabinet lead and the scrutiny of his area of responsibility is undertaken by a Chair who previously failed to safeguard vulnerable adults – what could possibly go wrong?. 

We need Labour councillors to reflect the communities they serve, empathise with local residents and communicate effectively with them. Only by ensuring there is a good range of councillors can we hope to do this.

Whilst we wholly endorse this approach – the end of fishing for councillors in the shallow end of the gene pool is only part of the solution. The other part is by throwing some unpalatable politicians over board. 

We want dynamic, committed members who welcome a challenge to stand for election to Wirral Council. You will need experience of party and community activity, campaigning, a commitment to Labour’s aims, values and policies, as well as enthusiasm to be part of effective service delivery and relationship building in Wirral.

We’d really love to know locally what are Labour’s aims values and policies – and please don’t point to the bloody 20 pledges. If someone was given a list of Labour’s actions – NOT words – the closure of services for vulnerable people, the lurch to privatisation, creating the illusion that Wirral Council is a business – a business that does not include public service , the courting of big business and private enterprise , the pursuit of mirages –  be it golf courses or international trade centres and ending up with foodbanks and call centres  ,selling off swathes of green belt  to property developers, a harsh approach to Council Tax reductions for the unemployed ,  they would all point to a Tory regime in all but name.

It’s all about finding people who are ordinary enough to be representative, but extraordinary enough to be representatives.

Extraordinary is the word – extraordinary that you’ve been getting away with what you have been up to  for years.

We want our candidates and councillors to be representative of the community they serve. Therefore, we are particularly keen to hear from women, young people and members of ethnic minorities who want to stand.

Are you sure ?- some of your leading politicians don’t seem keen on ethnic minorities in particular

Don’t worry if you feel you don’t know enough about how the council works – we will provide training for all candidates and potential candidates.

Don’t worry if you don’t know enough about how the council works (!) – neither do we , we’ve been winging it for years !

What is expected of a Labour councillor?

The ability to abuse your power and if you don’t yet have power or influence – unquestioning compliance – in the hope that one day , you too can abuse your power?.

Support regular campaign and communications of the Labour Group
Raising the profile of Labour and its work for local residents
To be an ambassador for the Labour Party
To attend branch meetings and report and consult on all council activity
To campaign with Labour members on local issues
To recruit new members and mobilise existing ones into action
To build a healthy party locally to do this you first have to get rid of the poison and that really does need some strong medicine . Sadly this is something  this ‘strong leader’ is seemingly not prepared to administer !

 

 

The Pain of Failure

pain

 

Now that we’ve had time to fully absorb Ofsted’s less than flattering  inspection report of Wirral’s Children’s Services we thought we’d wade in with our thoughts.

The horrorshow of a report speaks for itself :

https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/local_authority_reports/wirral/051_Single%20inspection%20of%20LA%20children%27s%20services%20and%20review%20of%20the%20LSCB%20as%20pdf.pdf

So having last week made our position on the latest Wirral Council car crash clear we’d particularly like to concentrate on the debris .

Inevitably Frank Field has melodramatically (if belatedly)  entered the fray saying that the report is “simply devastating” . However for a man who in the past has been quick to condemn he’s treating those responsible for the manifest failings in the report with kid gloves (no pun intended).

“Now is not the time for scapegoating”  he magisterially declares taking time out from calling for public accountability and monstering panto villains like former BHS boss “Sir” Philip Green. Which is a bit of a surprise from someone who makes such a public show of his deep concern about Wirral’s kiddiewinks. Although it’s perhaps not so surprising when you consider that one of the main people who should be driven into the desert is People Overview and Scrutiny Committee chair and long-time  Frankenfield acolyte Cllr Moira “Matron” McLaughlin , who having failed spectacularly when she steered a totally out of control adult social services department has been given the opportunity  to fall asleep at the wheel again and fail to ensure the proper scrutiny of children’s services under the  stewardship of Labour cabinet lead  Cllr Tony Smith . That’s quite a track record – it can only be a matter of time before she’s awarded an OBE.

But then what constantly perplexes us at Leaky Towers is that the people who are responsible for Council failures are given the responsibility to clear it up. We are not re-assured by the fact that Wirral Council Chief Executive Eric “Feeble” Robinson has informed us that will be holding Head of Children’s Services  Julia Hassall’s hand whilst they clear up a mess partially of their own making. Stressed Eric described the Ofsted report as “painful” – but then we’re sure that the  near £300,000 per annum of public money that Eric and Julia earn between them must go some way to easing that pain.

Has anyone noticed that Clare Fish the Strategic Director for Families & Wellbeing has been conspicuous by her absence from the public eye?. Whilst we always considered Fish to be out of her depth we wouldn’t like to think that this particular Super Duper Director has become yet another big fish who’s been let off the hook and been rewarded for their failure.

However it’s not all bad news as we’re particularly gratified, alongside a former Wirral Council head of safeguarding, that the current incumbent of the post – simpering Simon Garner – has been rumbled.

And finally  with reference to the Ofsted report we think that whoever thought up the acronym MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) needs to be put out of their misery.

children-fail

Memo to Frank Field

 

New Term at St.Frank’s Academy

DUNCE

September always has an air of ‘back to school’ about it and so it is that after the summer break the cycle of Wirral Council meetings resumed this week.

Things kicked off with a meeting of Cabinet on Monday at 10 am . All the better to ensure it gets less coverage than Tom Daley’s swimming trunks and the prying eyes of the public are kept away. Although to be honest these meetings are more stage managed than a Busby Berkeley production number. It’s usually a case of  Council leader Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies handing over to  deputy Cllr Ann McLachlan  who recounts how everything on Planet Wirral is “going forward” despite the “Tory cuts” . Then assorted cabinet members chime in with gushing good news stories about their portfolios whilst using either the words “Wirral Plan” “20/20 Vision” or “Pledges” (they haven’t quite co-ordinated a consistent approach yet).

However we understand that an absentee from yesterday’s meeting was Cllr George Davies as it was left to Power Boy Pip to reveal Davies’ grand plan for the Lyndale School site. Yes  – what a surprise it’s going to be a property developer’s  paradise. And so it came to pass  with cruel circularity and sickening similarity to the Wirralgate story as George finishes off what Foulkesy started with the former drawing up the final plans for the disposal of Lyndale School after the latter chaired the original “consultation” meeting proposing the closure.

One councillor that did manage to turn up and nod approvingly at everything that was said was Cllr Stuart Whittingham who will be attending  an event “The impact of congestion on bus passengers” in London on 14 September 2016. Although a) you would think Cllr Whittingham, as a bus driver with Arriva, would know this already… and b) the only congestion to be experienced on Wirral is when there’s badly co-ordinated roadworks as recently experienced by the poor people of Hoylake and West Kirby.

Also worth noting at this meeting was the rubber -stamping of the Public Health ‘commissioning intentions’ which included a £7,709,379 contract with with  drug and alcohol support provider ‘Change, Grow , Live’  – no questions asked.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50036101/APPENDIX%20ONE%20-%20PUBLIC%20HEALTH%20COMMISSIONING%20INTENTIONS.pdf

A meeting to look out for later this week is the “People  Overview and Scrutiny Committee”

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=760&MId=5758

Curiously for a committee which pays so much attention to inclusivity it is surprising to see an exempt item on the agenda. Could it be another report that the the people on the People Committee don’t want the people of Wirral to know about?……

 

 

 

Private Ambition and Political Alliances

 

Private and Public

Before we return to dissecting the Wirralgate saga we couldn’t help commenting on a couple of developments on Planet Wirral.

Firstly we were delighted to hear that ‘Mayor’ Joe Anderson was ‘heartbroken’ (snigger) not to get the Labour nomination for the Metro Mayor election . The nomination went to Walton MP Steve Rotheram . Of course we were backing Luciana Berger – but it would appear that when it comes to Metro Mayors – the progressive Labour Party prefers all their candidates across the country to have a penis and just like the Liverpool City Region leaders it doesn’t matter if they’re a bit limp.

Northern Outhouse

We were especially delighted that Mayor Joe’s ambitions come unstuck as we suspect that there were others on this side of the River Mersey who were anticipating riding on the coat tails of his mayoral robes.

Gleeful sources are commenting to us that Martin Liptrot’s masterplan to be the power behind the throne and Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies exit strategy to be Mayor Joe’s Deputy Mayor have sunk in the River Mersey. Once again we note how “The Curse of Pip” comes into play  – a ringing endorsement from him – as Pip did for Joe’s Metro Mayor nomination – is invariably the kiss of death.

Oh well never mind Liptrotsky ( the self proclaimed”cross river power broker”) will have to be content with being the de facto Chief Executive of Wirral Council as further demonstrated by the fact that supposed  CEO Eric “Feeble” Robinson is left to front the justification for yet another appointment to Liptrotsky’s growing public relations empire . The new appointment of a ‘Public Affairs Manager’ (it has been reliably estimated that there are currently 14 – yes 14 Wirral Council  officers already involved in aspects of this work) is justified by Stressed Eric thus:

“The  Public Affairs Manager will support the delivery of the Wirral Plan through leading the development and delivery of a public affairs and outreach strategy for the organisation. In addition they will be responsible for developing and maintaining effective connections with policymakers and key influencers regionally, nationally and internationally to help shape policies, decisions and legislation for the benefit of Wirral.”

This appointment will leave Liptrotsky more time to run Wirral Council and tells you everything you need to know about Wirral Council’s priorities – less public services, more public relations.

We asked our faithful factotum Verity Snoop whether she was going to apply , she told us she was suffering from severe personal integrity and therefore didn’t meet the essential criteria of being a complete and utter professional arselicker.

 

WIRRALGATE! -George Davies Dodges The Bullet

GD-WIRRAL-GATE

As you can see we’ve compared  Cllr George Davies to former US President George Clinton before. As once gain we have -an admittedly minor league politician – making succession of denials which eventually will be proved to be a series of lies. The only difference here is the evidence is to be found in a taped conversation instead of on a blue dress.

Unfortunately for reasons best known to herself  Patricia Thynne did not take a statement from Cllr George Davies this time round – meaning that Foulkesy took the flak and Davies dodged the bullet.

However it is  perplexing that Thynne has corroborated evidence of what was heard on the Wirralgate tape from three different sources but the only reason she backed off is that is that she hasn’t heard it herself (despite pleas to the ‘The Group’ aka ‘The Complainants’ to do the right thing and hand it over).

As we know this is not the first time that Davies has been treated with kid gloves.There is the Peter McKay investigation ( which not surprisingly has never been published) about the racial slur used by Cllr Davies to describe Head of Law Surjit Tour.  This resulted in Council manager Joe Blott   deciding that  Davies and Tour come to a gentleman’s agreement behind closed doors and the public weren’t allowed to know anything about it. Astonishingly  this wasn’t a Code of Conduct complaint – which again is deeply perplexing as Council “leader”  Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies admits to hearing what George Davies said on the tape so shouldn’t he have referred the matter as a Code of Conduct complaint or even more appropriately have suspended his namesake. But of course he couldn’t do that could he ?- Frank Field couldn’t have his political agent subject to a Code of Conduct investigation or a suspension – who knows what might have been uncovered?.

Whilst we’re not dismissing the racial slur as a serious matter  (allegedly Davies claimed he called a Tour “a bloody useless gimp”!. Believe us he didn’t !) but the most important aspect of the case against George Davies and indeed of the ENTIRE Thynne 2 report can be found here :

Thynne - davies 008

Note the use of the term “criminal law” to describe a potential serious breach by Cllr George Davies.The serious breach being the offer of resolving a non-existent legal claim without due legal process if an alleged incriminating document was handed over. Which all of course means that the only thing keeping Davies & Co out of the custody suite is the fact that the taped conversation has never been handed over and means that the holders of the recording hold Wirral Council (or rather the corrupt bunch that control the purse strings ) a hostage to fortune.

Remember it was Council “leader” Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies who said in Thynne 1 :

Davies - Thynne 1 008

The  publication of Thynne 2 now must mean that the stakes are even higher and The Group/The Complainants must now surely be in a position to name their price. As everyone must know by now if those recordings were to ever come to light the house of cards would all come tumbling down .

Could the Wirralgate saga be any more sordid?. Based on further information we have received – yes it can ! – as we will detail in forthcoming posts.

 

News Briefs

News Briefs

News Item 1

Our thanks go to the wag who sent us details of the News and Content Officer post being recruited to by Wirral Council and for asking us whether our very own Verity was applying!. Verity told that she is always true to her name so will be giving it a swerve !.

https://ww3.wirral.gov.uk/jobs/jobdetail.asp?VacancyID=7374&Other

However we’d like to wish the person responsible for “having  real enthusiasm for communicating what a fantastic place Wirral is to live and work”  the very best of luck. Let’s make a deal – you do the turdpolishing , we’ll do the dirty laundry!.We’re particularly looking forward to reading about Wirral Council Employee of the Month – from the stories we’ve covered that’ll be someone who hasn’t stolen the petty cash , handed over money to scam merchants , failed to follow procurement procedures or been involved in sexual shenanigans and senior management fisticuffs.

Talking of which …….

News Item 2

How delighted we were to see Kevin “Addled” Adderley at last weeks Birkenhead Constituency Committee meeting – pockets bulging with Council taxpayers cash and telling the gathered throng about the wonderful things he was now doing in retirement with the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

It wasn’t all good news though as we hear that Frank Field has stepped down from his role as Chair of the Committee. Frankenfield was always good for a petulant quote or two – who can forget his sly dig at this very blog?.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/frankie-says-wirral-leaks/

Frankenfield is still keeping his hand in (so to speak) as the new Chair is his political agent Cllr  George ” We Shall Overcomb”  Davies . We had questioned Frankenfield’s suitability to chair this Committee from the outset – should the local MP be making decisions on how the Council spends its money ?. But then he’s been used to spending Council money on his pet projects for years as Tony Kinsella and Nick Warren can testify (and we can only hope that one day they may have to !).

Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies helpfully explained that the selfless Birkenhead MP was spending  more time on “parliamentary duties” . By which we think he means having  a bitchfight with BHS bad boy “Sir” Philip Green.

Field has received a letter from Green’s lawyers asking him to apologise for comments he made comparing him unfavourably to pension plunderer Robert Maxwell.

Field told Sky News: “I don’t know how that will run, but it adds to the gaiety of life doesn’t it?”

Doesn’t it just sweetie!.

Frankenfield has gone on to call Green “evil” – which suggests to us that he has a particularly delicate sensibility or he needs to get out more and meet some of his constituents who contribute to his description of Birkenhead being “like Beirut”.

News Item 3

…and finally we read that Cllr Adrian “Janus-faced” Jones is the only Wirral Councillor to publicly support Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by signing a pro-Corbyn letter (although we do know that fellow Labour councillors Treena Johnson and Louise Reecejones are also Jezza fans)

http://labourlist.org/2016/06/hundreds-of-councillors-sign-pro-corbyn-letter/

 

Father Christmas and eagle

Awks

 

 

 

Public Health in Private Hands

 

Fiona Loves CGL

What Does Fiona Love ? : Public Relations or Public Health?

We’re getting further worrying information about an organisation we’ve reported on briefly a couple of times.The organisation that was formerly known as Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) who finally woke up to the fact that not all people with drug/alcohol and other vulnerabilities were necessarily criminals and changed their name to the much more cuddly Change, Grow , Live (CGL). 

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/people-who-need-people/

What we can’t get over at Leaky Towers is how people are so ready to complain about NHS privatisation by the back door and yet when Public Health became the responsibility of Wirral Council (Lord help us!) one of the first things they did was hand over the NHS Drug and Alcohol Service to the private sector !.

No doubt this contributed to the fact that  CRI /CGL has doubled its income to more than £140m in five years!. But then there’s always been seriously big money to be made out of people with addictions !.

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/crime-reduction-initiatives-plans-expand-its-health-services-carry-rebrand/finance/article/1360918

As a number of sources have been in touch to raise their concerns we didn’t know where to start . So let’s start at the beginning with some real live quotes from the people in the know and which provide a cautionary tale about what happens when you handover loads of public money to the private sector :

I just thought I would drop you an email to say thank you for the posts around CRI or whatever name they are going by these days.

I worked for the Drug and Alcohol service for X years when it was NHS and at St Catherine’s Hospital. Was it perfect? –  of course not but I can honestly say the level of care and support for some of the Wirral’s most vulnerable clients was outstanding. I will not bore you with stories of what we did on a daily basis, it broke my heart when the tender was awarded to CRI and Phoenix BUT I did keep an open mind and thought about the clients and keeping on to support them….How naive was I?.
Day One at Conway Street which is the old Arch building- no fax machine, phones, no referral paperwork, basically a nightmare and it continued for weeks and weeks. I must be honest with you I left and didn’t even have a job to go to that is how bad it was.
And there’s more :
Clients not seen on a one to one basis, all group work, caseloads for one person went up to around 150 people, RECOVERY was the buzz word and they would not see anyone who didn’t want to be drug or alcohol free. No more free Hep(atitis) B injections, they didn’t want to do any community detoxes, even the drug and alcohol nurses from Arrowe Park got their legal team in to stop CRI staff on the wards because the care was so bad,  we used to take people from Arrowe Park to detox them from alcohol in the community to free beds. I can only imagine that hospital admissions have rocketed, they left the hostel and homeless clients without a worker for months. The YMCA management were furious, they would not pay for flu injections for the homeless which we as the NHS had been doing for years, the hostel and homeless nurse had to fight with them and basically shame them into paying for the flu injections in a meeting. 
And more :
I could go on and on with horror stories…..  I am heart broken for the clients, most of them have had shitty lives, unimaginable things happen to them and now they are not even getting a half way decent service. 
When we fought as a NHS service to try and stop this service becoming private ( Council Leader) Phil Davies responded with a cut ‘n’ paste letter stating CRI  was the best service  and  would not meet with us for a meeting . What made me angry was he came to the YMCA in Birkenhead for a photo opportunity a few days later to pick litter with residents….
I thank you for your kind response and keep up the good fight! Just know there are still people very angry at this who truly do care for the people of Wirral…
And more :
     
Now, did you know that ARCH has gone bankrupt and been taken over by another drugs company called Kaleidoscope… All Arch’s cafes have been closed apart from one- Nightingales because it was funded by Public Health money …
And more :
We have been told there have  been 65 or 66 deaths since they CRI/CGL took over. A source tells us :

Some staff members requested a meeting with a CRI/CGL  (Director) which took place with a union rep and she stated it was because of ‘An ageing population’

That’s  a line that is usually thrown out when the Department of Adult Social Services tries to explain why it is overspent.
As our source says :
How odd they all chose to die to die in the 16 months of transfer……….
Now as former CRI/CGL employee Cllr Angela Davies seems quite happy to ignore her public duties and yet privately raise concerns so we’d like to turn our attention to a  ‘public servant’ who manages to rake in a six figure salary for commissioning this service –  Director of Public Health Fiona Johnstone.
I’m sure Fiona can reassure us that there is nothing to worry about and the appropriate scrutiny/oversight/monitoring/accountability of  CGL  has taken place and everything is hunky dory.
Perhaps it will appear as a good news item in the first edition of the Wirral Council propaganda sheet which received approval last week.
We won’t be holding our breath.

Wirral’s Next Top Model

Bad Hair day 012

Entries welcome for our Eric’s bad hair day caption competition. Picture courtesy of John Brace 

 

We’ve only just caught up with Monday’s Wirral Council Employment & Appointments Committee after giving you the heads up last week that Head of Housing  Ian Platt’s tidy retirement package was being discussed.

Needless to say nothing to report on that score as prolific film-maker John Brace was politely asked to leave before that golden handshake was signed off.

However we were treated to a rare speaking engagement by reclusive CEO Eric “Feeble” Robinson who introduced his “New Operating Model” to replace his predecessor Graham Burgess’s “Non Operating Model”. We say this as there seemed to be an acknowledgement that Burgess’s appointment of so-called Super Directors was an expensive and wasteful extra tier of management . Council “leader” Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies seemed keen to draw a line under Burgess’s embarrassing tenure by declaring forlornly ” we are where we are” whilst repeatedly using his Deputy Ann McLachlan ‘s catchphrase ” going forward”. No wonder she sat virtually mute for the entire meeting – the one trick pony had lost her trick.

Meanwhile Stressed Eric was proving his charisma by-pass operation had been a complete success as he appeared to be playing a game of  buzzword bingo on Mogadon. We think the term “Strategic Hub” says it all.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50035635/New%20Operating%20Model%20Report.pdf

What was dispiriting for us to observe was the way that the lurch towards a business model which prioritises putting public services into the hands of private companies was so enthusiastically received by one and all despite the fact that Wirral Council is NOT a business.

Just a thought : how about employing managers who are truly committed to public service and not to their over-inflated paypackets?.

Whilst Stressed Eric briefly mentioned the C word – “culture”  that is – he swiftly moved on to more  familiar territory and concentrated on far less problematic areas such as “structures” and “processes”.

There were a few other interesting observations to make along the way such as Department of Adult Social Services Director Graham Hobgoblinson bagging himself an  Assistant Director – as let’s face it he needs all the help he can get  despite , with the impending closure of Girtrell Court  , finally getting rid of all in-house services. Let’s hope he has better success than with previous DASS Assistant Directors!

We also noted that  Joe Blott’s exit strategy has been put on hold and he will now be slotted in to the “New Operating Model” structure despite questions being asked about his “skill set” ( I think we can read between the lines what is meant by that can’t we?) . Of course Councillors must now be aware that Blott is calling the shots as he’s recently joined the Surjit Tour Job For Life Club. It must be the aspiration of every Wirral Council senior manager to wheedle your way into a position of power by means of your knowledge – which is less about knowledge of how to do you job and more about knowing where the bodies are buried……….